Sherman woman survives West Nile Virus, family sends message

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SHERMAN, TX -- 93-year-old Jessie Pearce spends a lot of her time gardening in her Sherman backyard, and never thought that would be what made her sick.

"She had West Nile Encephalitis, which does effect the brain," daughter, Sue Ponder said.

Pearce's daughter Sue Ponder said they were outside in the grass when they all were bitten by mosquitoes one evening. Now, she's sending a message.

"The neighborhood near Wakefield elementary school needs to be diligent in checking their property and be aware that the West Nile Virus is in their neighborhood," Ponder said,

Grayson County health officials placed mosquito traps in the area around Wakefield school Thursday night. Pearce's neighborhood was one of those locations.

Amanda Ortez with the Grayson County Health Department said they'll go through all the mosquitoes that have been trapped, in search of one specific type.

"We're going to specifically look for the Culex Q mosquito," Ortez said.

It's believed that type of mosquito carries the West Nile Virus.

"Once we know that these particular mosquitoes in our area, in the county are carriers of the West Nile Virus then we can be more proactive in our response to form a strategy and to protect the public," Ortez said.

Ortez says they'll continue to place traps in different areas in Sherman and eventually each city in Grayson county will have at least have one trap.

After more than two weeks of hospitalization, Pearce is getting better.

"She's a miracle and we're thankful for that. And in a couple of weeks, when we have her 94th birthday, it will be very special," Ponder said.

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